Whether print media has a future is a subject of constant debate. Thanks to tablets and e-book readers like the Amazon Kindle, it's never been easier to read without killing trees or getting ink-stained fingers.
Still, one local publication, which has dedicated itself to long-form journalism and innovative design, has bucked the trend and found enough of an audience to continue.
Sugar & Rice, which describes itself as an "independent publication that is telling the stories of the Gulf Coast through the lens of food," has announced it will extend its run and publish four new issues.
"I'm surprised, though I probably shouldn't be, of how hard it can be to over come the stigma of being simply a regional magazine."
"From our first issue, with 800 hand-screen printed covers, to our upcoming ‘Road Trip’ issue, No. 4, we’ve learned at a lot, refined our design, improved our editing, and increased our distribution network. So with that momentum behind us, Sugar & Rice is really hitting its stride," editor-in-chief David Leftwich writes in an email.
Conceived in 2013 by Treadsack owners Chris Cusack and Joey Treadway and director of restaurant operations Benjy Mason as a platform for telling stories that online outlets typically do not, Sugar & Rice takes its inspiration from similar food publications like Lucky Peach and Swallow. The next four issues of Sugar & Rice will focus on themes of "Kids," "Scale," "La Boca" and "Speed."
Leftwich credits Sugar & Rice's ability to take advantage of print's strengths for his initial success. "I think it's the combination of good long-form writing and quality art and design — really taking advantage of what print has to offer with visual impact while giving writers and readers the opportunity to explore a theme or issue in-depth," he writes.
One challenge has been getting a broader audience interested in stories about the Gulf Coast. "Even though we've received some great feedback from people in places like San Francisco and New York City and we have picked up readers and subscribers from all over the county, I'm surprised, though I probably shouldn't be, of how hard it can be to over come the stigma of being simply a regional magazine," Leftwich adds.
"Even though our focus is the Gulf Coast, I think a lot of the stories have a universal appeal, because food has a universal appeal."